FindingsThe Congress finds the following:
Three-fourths of all American children and adults participate in wildlife-related recreational activities other than hunting, fishing and trapping.
In 1985, Americans spent over $14 billion on non-consumptive wildlife-related recreation.
The United States and Canada are inhabited by approximately two thousand six hundred vertebrate species of native fish and wildlife, which have provided food, clothing, and other essentials to a rapidly expanding human population.
Over 80 percent of vertebrate fish and wildlife species in North America are not harvested for human use.
The continued well-being of this once-abundant fish and wildlife resource, and even the very existence of many species, is in peril.
In 1967, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service reported that forty-five common migratory bird species, which are not hunted, had exhibited significant declines in abundance, and that thirteen of these species have experienced widespread, systematic declines of 46.9 percent during a twenty-year study period.
There have been nationwide declines in frogs and other amphibians.
Over two hundred and seventy-five of vertebrate fish and wildlife species in the United States are now officially classified as threatened or endangered by the Federal Government.
During the past decade, fish and wildlife species, including invertebrates, were added to the rapidly growing list of threatened and endangered species in North America at the average rate of over one per month.
Currently, eighty-two species of invertebrates in the United States are listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act [16 U.S.C. 1531
et seq.], and another nine hundred and fifty-one United States invertebrate species are candidates for listing under that Act.
Proper management of fish and wildlife, before species become threatened or endangered with extinction, is the key to reversing the increasingly desperate status of fish and wildlife.
Proper fish and wildlife conservation includes not only management of fish and wildlife species taken for recreation and protection of endangered and threatened species, but also management of the vast majority of species which fall into neither category.
Partnerships in fish and wildlife conservation, such as the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Program, the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Program, and the North American Wetlands Conservation Act [16 U.S.C. 4401
et seq.] have benefitted greatly the conservation of fish and wildlife and their habitats.
A program that encourages partnerships among Federal and State governments and private entities to carry out wildlife conservation and appreciation projects would benefit all species of fish and wildlife through such activities as management, research, and interagency coordination.
Many States, which are experiencing declining revenues, are finding it increasingly difficult to carry out projects to conserve the entire array of diverse fish and wildlife species and to provide opportunities for the public to associate with, enjoy, and appreciate fish and wildlife through nonconsumptive activities.